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Weber State’s Dillon Jones named first unanimous Big Sky preseason men’s basketball MVP

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Oct 19, 2023

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Weber State forward Dillon Jones (2) faces up to shoot against BYU's Gideon George on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, in Provo.

External expectations are officially sky-high for Weber State men’s basketball.

One day after the team was two media votes away from being voted a unanimous No. 1 in coaches and media polls, fourth-year forward Dillon Jones has been unanimously voted as the Big Sky Conference’s preseason men’s basketball MVP for the 2023-24 season.

The MVP and preseason all-conference team, released Thursday morning, is a combined poll for media and coaches.

Jones is the first unanimous MVP since the league began preseason polling in 2015. He averaged 16.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season, leading the country in defensive rebounding.

Senior shooting guard Steven Verplancken Jr. joins Jones on the preseason all-conference team. A third-teamer after last season, Verplancken was WSU’s second-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game while shooting 41.7% from the 3-point line.

Joining the two Weber State representatives are Montana guard Aanen Moody, Eastern Washington center Ethan Price, Idaho State center Brayden Parker and Portland State guard Jorell Saterfield.

Jones is the only player in Weber State’s history with at least 1,000 career points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 100 steals. He earned high marks at the NBA G League Elite Camp and the NBA Draft Combine, and surprised some by withdrawing from the Draft to return to Weber State.

Jones is also 167 rebounds away from becoming the third player in WSU’s program history to reach career marks of 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds (Joel Bolomboy, Willie Sojourner).

On the women’s side, fifth-year senior Daryn Hickok was voted to the preseason all-conference team for Weber State. The Wildcats were voted last in both the media and coaches preseason polls released Wednesday but Hickok is one of six fifth-year seniors aiming for a turnaround under new head coach Jenteal Jackson.

Portland State junior Esmerelda Morales was voted women’s preseason MVP. She averaged 15.8 points per game and shot 42.1% from the 3-point line last season.

Joining Morales and Hickok on the team are Carmen Gfeller of Montana, Jamie Loera and Jaydia Martin of Eastern Washington, and Hannah Simental of Northern Colorado.


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